A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a conference by Dole in beautiful Carmel, California. I had planned mom’s surprise trip to Carmel right before I found out about the Dole trip to Carmel, but I definitely wasn’t complaining about hanging out in Carmel two weeks in a row. No, sir. At the Dole Conference, we learned all about….you guessed it…..SALAD! Now I know what y’all are thinking—-boooooooring—-but no! It really was so cool to see where the lettuce comes from and follow it from the field to the plate. We learned all sorts of neat things about how to take the salad from a simple side-dish to a main course, and even got to spend time in the gorgeous kitchens of Carmel Valley Ranch creating our own salad masterpieces!
(I won’t lie though—I totally ate a burger on the drive home, and it was delicious)
This “Summer Fattoush Salad” was my salad masterpiece of the day while visiting with Dole. Right after I made this, they took an incredibly awkward photo outside of me holding my salad.
It was a pre-shower photo.
I won’t be sharing that today.
Instead, let’s review the ingredients! Look ma, no meat!
I realized I forgot the tahini right after I uploaded this photo. Oops! Tahini was involved as well.
A fattoush salad is a traditional Mediterranean salad with toasted pita bread. I love the idea of using bits of crunchy whole wheat pita instead of plain ol’ croutons in my salad, and wanted to continue to play up the Mediterranean flavors by adding chickpeas, feta and sweet cherry tomatoes.
Right before serving, you drizzle some tahini over everything—-it’s a nice alternative to hummus sometimes!
I also kept things simple with the dressing: nothin’ but olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of salt. Sometimes (usually), simple is better. This lemony dressing is great for summer since it’s so light, and works great with the tangy bits of feta.
Since coming home from the conference, I’ve already made this salad twice for myself. It screams summer to me, and is a great light dinner when accompanied by some crusty french bread
or a burger.
Summer Fattoush Salad
8 cups spring mix (about 2 10-oz packages)
10 oz cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
2 whole wheat pitas, cut into thin strips (easiest way to do this is with a scissors)
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (more or less to taste)
small pinch of salt (to taste)
Tahini for serving
Place the pita strips in a small skillet on the stove over medium high heat. Toast, tossing often, until pita strips are very crisp. This will take about four to five minutes. Don’t let the strips burn! When crisp, remove from heat and set aside.
Toss together the spring mix, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta crumbles, cilantro and chickpeas in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Add the toasted pita strips and toss again.
Finish salad by drizzling a spoonful of tahini over top just before serving.